I am a family law specialist who has regularly appeared in courts across the Western Circuit and South Wales (at High Court, County Court and FPC level). I accept instructions in public law, having appeared on behalf of local authorities, parents and guardians, private law children matters and financial remedy cases, as well as non-molestation and occupation order proceedings.
In addition to my technical knowledge, I bring to my practice:
I was called to the Bar in 1989 and practised as a lawyer within the Civil Service until moving into private practice in 1998, becoming a member of Queen Square Chambers in 2001 initially as part of the criminal team. I joined the family team in 2013, drawn by the factual detail to be mastered, the human interest of a range of lay and professional clients, and the court advocacy involved.
Re A, L & A (2014) A High Court case on behalf of the respondent mother that involved allegations by the applicant father that the mother had at one time abducted the children and had subsequently subjected them to such a barrage of misinformation about him that the children exhibited “parental alienation syndrome”. The case (dealing principally with residence and contact) turned heavily on the psychological expert evidence. When I first became involved in the case there was judicial scepticism (bordering on hostility) towards my client but by a combination of detailed reading of the case and doggedness in court I was able to persuade the court to adopt my client’s position.
Re Devon County Council v D & M (2015) A public law childcare case on behalf of the respondent mother. The local authority application for removal under an ICO was successfully resisted both at first instance and upon appeal, chiefly by exposing evidential shortcomings. The local authority had relied upon undermining aspects of the parent’s case rather than upon establishing a positive case of their own to justify removal. Placement for adoption was avoided by careful legal submissions directed at persuading the court that the local authority had failed to demonstrate that “nothing else would do”, thus preserving the possibility of an ongoing relationship between my client and her children, even though care orders were eventually made.
Re North Somerset Council v E, H & R (2015) A public law childcare case on behalf of one of the respondent fathers. My client has an old conviction for manslaughter and was accused by the mother of beating and raping her during their relationship and, subsequently, during the period covered by proceedings. The mother’s allegations initially formed part of threshold as against my client, but by a careful reading of the evidence and firm negotiation I was able to persuade the local authority that their threshold was misconceived. Threshold was significantly amended, opening up the possibility of a family placement of my client’s daughter with her paternal grandmother.
Re North Somerset Council v W & B (2016 and ongoing) A public law childcare case on behalf of the respondent mother involving a fact finding hearing to establish the causation of unexplained bruising and a suspected fracture to a child under one year old. The case involved the cross examination of two expert witnesses, a radiologist and a paediatrician. The case was significantly complicated by the parents’ respective recollections of the events leading up to the presentation of the child with injuries.
Re G v G (2016) A financial remedy case on behalf of the applicant wife, who alleged that the respondent husband had entered into a sham arrangement with his mistress to disguise the true level of his earnings/earning capacity in an attempt to portray himself as being poorer than his wife. The sham in question involved the sale at an undervalue of the assets of the family company to the mistress and the pretense of being a mere employee of a company owned by the mistress.
Undergraduate degree (1984-1987)
LL.B (Hons) Leeds
Family Law Bar Association
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